Get Rid Of Your Belly!
If you spent anytime this past year convincing your wife that you just had to have one more putter and that putter happened to be one that anchors to your belly...you might not want to read any further. Maybe if you don't read what I am about to tell you...it can't really be true. Maybe it's all just a bad dream.
Because, the controversy and all the debate between the USGA and the manufacturers is officially over. The belly putter is now a thing of the past in the game of golf. So you can open up that closet and stick one more worthless golf club away to collect some dust.
The belly putter fad or trend (whatever you wanted to call it) was HUGE for putter manufacturers. In recent conversations I have had with a couple putter companies they claimed to be selling belly putters 8 to 1 compared to their conventional length putters. Many have said they almost could not keep up with the demand. Something you haven't heard from equipment companies in a long time.
"It Should Be Banned!"
As with most controversial issues the USGA deals with, there is no easy answer.
I clearly think they got this one wrong...I think the USGA has once again over stepped their boundaries. But many players on tour disagree. Ernie Els says the issue is clear cut, "It should be banned!" Tiger Woods has even got in on the action...although this might be related to the fact that many of the guys on tour using a belly putter are passing him on the leaderboard like never before. Even early adopters and supporters of the now illegal golf weapon like Colin Montgomerie are coming out against them, now saying he thinks they should be made illegal for use.
Peter Dawson the R&A Secretary told Reuters, "It does seem to make people who've perhaps passed their best days at putting better putters again.
History Of The Belly Putter Controversy
The belly putter was patented in 1965 by Richard T. Parmley, and got its first win on tour by Phil Rogers only a few years later...which is where the debate all got started. It was brought back to the forefront in the 80's and again in 1999 when Paul Azinger used one to go from being ranked (111th in 1999) to (4th in 2000). But...the debate once again seemed to fizzle out without much flame.
But in 2003, the belly putter picked up 8 wins on the PGA Tour and the debate was officially back on. It was at this time that the USGA first spoke out about wanting to make them illegal for use. Fortunately for many golfers the debate was again put to rest about as quickly as it surfaced.
In 2011 when the controversy came back in the limelight, something was different. Personally I think it was the staff at the USGA that was different. But whatever it was this time there is no looking back. Their ruling today states that the belly putter will forever be banned from the game of golf. This ban for professional golfers is effective immediately, (April 1st) and for recreational golfers starting (May 1st).
So what are your thoughts on one of the biggest equipment decisions ever handed down by the USGA?